Euthyphro and Piety Essay

Submitted By BerniceCampbell
Words: 1675
Pages: 7

In Plato’s “Euthyphro,” we come across two main characters, Socrates and Euthyphro. Socrates permits us to survey the ways in which decisions are formed for what purpose. Socrates and Euthyphro are discussing Euthyphro and why he is bringing his father to court to prosecute him for murder. They were talking about if the murder was just or unjust. Euthyphro is prosecuting his father, because he feels like it is pious to do so; however Socrates challenges us both the reader and Euthyphro to examine how piety is defined. Socrates question, what piety and impiety means. This then sparks a conversation about each of their concepts of holiness. As Euthyphro first definition of what is pious, he uses the action of him prosecuting his father. Euthyphro then states that piety is doing as he is doing. By this Euthyphro meant prosecuting wrongdoers, or anyone who is guilty. Euthyphro states that impiety is, not to punish those in which are guilty of murder, sacrilege or anything similar to this. Socrates feels like this definition is too narrow and that it doesn’t give enough information. Socrates then challenges Euthyphro to give a more general definition of what piety is instead of him offering an example. In turn, Euthyphro offers a second definition. The second definition that Euthyphro gives of piety is that piety is that which the gods agree on and hold dear. In turn, if the gods disagree on something, then it is to be considered pious. At this point Socrates then acknowledges that the second definition is more in depth, but he still points out that there are still some complications that surrounds Euthyphro’s second definition of piety. Socrates observes that what is acceptable to some gods may be unacceptable to others. For example, if we prosecute a woman for having an abortion in which she may think it is the right thing for her to do, whereas other people may think it is wrong then there is no definite answer. Socrates contends that if we base our decisions on the beliefs of the gods and the gods disagree, then there is no clear resolution to our actions. The final definition that Euthyphro gives of piety is very similar to the first definition with a small adjustment. Euthyphro proclaims that piety is that in which is agreed upon or loved by all gods. On the contrary, what all the gods dislike or disapprove is impious. Socrates then questions, how would Euthyphro know what all the gods agree upon or find pleasing? Socrates indicates that what the gods like or find pleasing does not offer a solid definition of pious action. Instead Euthyphro’s definition shows a relationship of how the gods respond, but the gods still may be indecisive. Euthyphro’s last definition still doesn’t break anything down; it fails to explain the specific types of things in which the gods would approve. In Euthyphro’s final attempt, he still fails at giving a concrete definition of piety to justify the prosecution of his own father. If we try to appeal to authority to make our moral decisions, there will be complications, complications that Euthyphro failed to acknowledge. With that being said, by basing our moral decisions just because someone tells us that it is right, we fail to evaluate what or who it is calling us into action. For every action, there is a reaction that’s why it’s always best to examine different possibilities from different perspectives before we make our final decision. For example, smoking marijuana is an action that can be examined with Socrates’ idea and goal. We understand that although smoking marijuana may create a personal pleasure and causes the user to feel euphoric, the long-term effects of memory loss outweighs the positive effects of that pleasure. Today marijuana is legal in some states and illegal in others. With this being said, the authorities have not come to a combined agreement whether to make it legal or not all over. Like Euthyphro, we often stand by our own thoughts…